In collaboration with Roanoke Public Libraries builds, the Stamped from the Beginning book club builds around the Summer with the National Book Award event Indecent Histories, held on August 29th at the new Melrose Branch Library, featuring Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Justin Phillip Read.
Join the conversation at any time. Each session features a local leader or content expert. It’s a tough topic, but we approach it with the desire to learn and to process the information with our neighbors.
January 7 – Section 1: Cotton Mather
Guest: Points of Diversity’s Katie Zawacki on learnings from Changing the Narrative.
Thirty readers joined the conversation on January 7. We heard the outcomes from Katie Zawacki on the community’s 2019 Changing the Narrative project funded by the Kellogg foundation through Virginia Humanities. Watch soon for a video of Katie’s presentation. Additional resources mentioned in the meeting:
- Changing the Narrative Ritual of Prayer & Healing Invitation – Sunday 1/19, 3 PM
- Changing the Narrative identified priorities
- Points of Diversity website – stay tuned for an LGBTQ+ and a family dinner
- Additional reading: 1619 Project from The New York Times
- Additional viewing: Dr. Kendi on CBS News –Why are hate crimes rising? (Jan. 3)
- Agenda and Section One Timeline (YouTube video)
January 14 – Section 2: Thomas Jefferson
Guest: Sculptor and Author Lawrence Reid Bechtel on Thomas Jefferson and Isaac Granger
A group of 25 people discussed the contradictions and complexity of Enlightenment thinkers including Thomas Jefferson. Guest Larry Bechtel described his interest and process in exploring the life of Isaac Granger Washington, an enslaved man on the estate of Thomas Jefferson, imagined in his novel, A Partial Sun. Additional resources mentioned in the session:
- Inhabiting other lives in historical fiction with Lawrence Reid Bechtel
- Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories, New York Times, 1.12.20)
- Africa’s Great Civilizations, PBS Documentary
- Larry Bechtel’s website
- A Partial Sun by Lawrence Reid Bechtel
- Section II Timeline
- Lawrence Reid Bechtel Presentation
January 21 – Section 3: William Lloyd Garrison (Add the FB Event to your calendar)
Guest: Virginia Tech’s Dennis Halpin on the legacy of the Civil War
January 28 – Section 4: W. E. B. Du Bois (Add the Facebook Event to your calendar)
Guest: Virginia Humanities’ Justin Reid on Reconstruction and the Great Migration
February 4 – Section 5: Angela Davis (Add the Facebook Event to your calendar)
Guest: Vice-Mayor Joe Cobb on the civil rights movement and today
February 11 – Wrap up conversation
Historian Ibram X. Kendi was the youngest author to win the National Book Award for nonfiction for his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, (Bold Type Books, 2017). The book was a Washington Post and Boston Globe Best Book of the Year, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, and the NAACP Image Award Finalist for Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction. The history runs from fifteenth-century Europe into the twenty-first century in five sections, each with a “tour guide” of thought of their era. Kendi is a professor of history and international relations at American University.
Paired with Kendi for the event was Justin Phillip Reed. The poet and essayist is originally from South Carolina, and now lives in St. Louis. He won the award in 2018 for his poetry collection, Indecency (Coffee House Press, 2018).
- Read Stanley R. Hale’s coverage of the event in the Roanoke Tribune.
- Read the Roanoke Times editorial
- Read the BOOK CITY opinion piece in the Roanoke Times
- Find book recommendations mentioned in the August 29 event.
To continue the conversation, we’re holding the Stamped from the Beginning Book Club, a six-week community read of the history of racist ideas. January 7 through February 14, 2020.